Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters used in this fic.
General Warnings: Rated M for Violence and Suggestive Themes
Author Notes: Uh, wow has it really been more than a year? Sorry guys, ouch, y'all must hate me! My feeble excuses will be at the bottom, but for now enjoy your long overdue chapter (it's a doozy ;D)!
The diner's bell rang as two scientists, an intern and an alien sat conversing around a table.
"How did you get inside that cloud?" Jane questioned the strange man that had, quite literally, fallen from the sky.
"Also, how could you eat an entire box of poptarts and still be this hungry?" Darcy asked, amazed at how many pancakes the man had already shoveled into his mouth. Selvig just stared with slightly disturbed awe. Thor ignored them, perhaps hadn't even heard them as he continued to shove food into his mouth. He reached for the mug and downed the drink in one go, and as he lowered the mug his eyes lit up in surprised happiness.
"This drink, I like it." He said, wonderingly. Darcy nodded in agreement, a coffee junkie herself. Staying up late nights with Janehad turned the intern into a coffee monster alongside the female scientist.
"I know, right?" She said, smiling at Jane. Yellow flashed in the corner of her eye as the waiter passed by, a laden tray in his hand. "It's-"
"Another!" He demanded, flinging the cup at the ground. Jane jumped in her seat, closing her eyes and flinching back, waiting for the loud sound of the cup crashing against the ground. A moment passed, and when the crash never came Jane opened her eyes in confusion.
She blinked in surprise.
"Woah there," the waiter warned tightly, his mouth a grim line slashed across his face as he straightened from his quick bend to the ground by the side of the table. "Here," the server said as his right hand cleared the table's edge and came into view, the upturned mug clasped firmly in his palm. He rotated his arm so that he could offer the mug back to the table, flipping it so that it was rightside once more, then set it down with a solid thud. The man looked up, the barely restrained anger in his eyes as he stared at Thor contrasting sharply with his tightly held grin.
"Nobody would want for an accident to happen."
"Nobody would want for an accident to happen."
The man flicked a murky look toward Thor, his grin turning into something more sharp, more threatening. Almost feral.
Thor blinked, nearly rearing back in shock, but squashed the instinct and instead furrowed his brow as he leveled a glare back at the intruder.
"Ichigo, dude, that was like, the coolest thing I've ever seen," Darcy burst into fast-paced chatter, her hands flying in her vivacity. "Except, of course, the first time I met you, but like definitely top ten of 'awesomest' life moments, but seriously, holy cheese balls, we need to get you a traveling show my man-"
"Oh! Ichigo." Jane sighed warmly in relief, hand coming up to rest on her chest to calm her sudden heart attack, courtesy of her newly discovered (and handsome beyond description) 'guest'. "How are you?" She asked the man, ignoring Darcy's chatter and shooting Thor a harsh look.
"Just fine Miss Foster." Ichigo said warmly, smile relaxing into something more natural, eyes flickering between Jane and the blond haired man. Jane winced at the suspicious scene her "guest" had created.
Thor just stared at the lady incredulously as she began to make small talk with the unsettling mortal. Did she not realize the gauntlet the man had thrown? The Crown Prince could not take such a mockery so lightly.
The chair's legs screeched as Thor suddenly stood, towering over the other man.
"And who dares to challenge the Crown Prince of Asmar?" Thor thundered, outraged at the audacity of the Midgardian male.
"Thor?!" Jane hissed, leaning forward. "What are you doing?"
Thor ignored her, instead fixated wholly on the man beside her. Staring back, Ichigo cocked his head as he regarded the prince coolly.
"Ooh, hot man fight, gotta grab my phone for this shiz." Darcy murmured to the old scientist, lunging toward her bag for the device and crawling under the table. Despite her conspicious actions she remained unnoticed by the two men facing off.
"Challenge? Nah, I just wanted to make sure no one got hurt." Ichigo said, relaxing his face into an easy smile.
But Thor knew better. People may say that he was the brawn to his brother's brain, but his instincts as a warrior were never wrong. This man might fool those unaccustomed to the wages of battle, like the Ladys Jane and Darcy, but Thor had been in the throes of war since his earliest years. Though the man's posture was nothing but unassuming, Thor could see the strength building in the muscles beneath his skin, teeth bared behind his lips, ready to pounce. And before, when he had issued his silent challenge….
He thought back, and compared the man's eyes to the ones the warrior was leveling at him now. A sense of familiarity came to him, and Thor's jaw clenched as he came to the grim conclusion. This was not a sheep, but a wolf beneath a sheep's clothing. A fearsome warrior hiding behind the skin of a weak Midgardian.
Thor gnashed his teeth.
"You would mock your betters?" He growled, squaring his shoulders menacingly. Tilting his head up, the warrior's eyes set in an icy glare as his jaw clenched, smile abruptly gone as his whole body went taut with rage.
"I don't like people who think they're better than others. You're not a god." Ichigo snarled softly.
Thor bristled. This mere mortal had no idea of his place!
"Besides," Ichigo continued, taking a subtle step toward him, the anger vanishing once more underneath stone cold demeanor. "Mrs. Alvarez would've been upset if one of her mugs had been broken," he paused, taking a breath and eyes narrowing in a sharp but subtle accusation, "accidentally." The man finished, eyes flashing dangerously as he lifted his chin in another soundless provocation.
The warrior's eyes burned.
Thor growled deeply, bared his teeth at the insult to his pride, and was reaching for his hip when-
"Oh man, this is even better than that pancake photo." Darcy squealed, phone rising.
The warrior blinked suddenly, looking faintly as if he had been struck for the barest of seconds, and retreated, tension flowing out of his stance. Thor faltered, thrown off balance by the abrupt absence of the threat.
"One sec," Ichigo said absently, turning to pick up his tray from the empty table. "I gotta put these away, and then I'll be back, kay?" He gave a little wave, and began walking back to the counter. Darcy groaned in disappointment while Thor stared incredulously after him, before Jane yanked him back down into his seat.
"What were you doing?" The female scientist whispered furiously. "Ichigo was just trying to help, after you almost destroyed their mug!" Thor recoiled a tad at Jane's hushed reprimand, but his eyes continued to follow the strange warrior as he completed his business behind the counter.
A couple minutes later, the waiter rounded the counter and made his way toward their table. Thor eyed the man suspiciously as he stopped in front of their table, but before he could say anything the man dipped his head.
"I'm sorry," he said, head still bowed. "It was wrong of me to be so rude to you."
"Oh, no Ichigo," Jane said embarrassed, "it was our fault, we were the ones who made such a scene. You don't need to apologize!" She glared harshly at Thor from across the small table.
"No, I was at fault as well." Ichigo said, straightening. He regarded Thor for a moment, before letting out a long sigh. Pulling up a chair, Ichigo plopped down to join the four at the table.
"You know," Ichigo mused, eying Thor speculatively, "you remind me of a good friend of mine."
"I do? Hmph, I doubt I am like anyone from this realm." He claimed haughtily. Darcy just smacked her forehead, as Jane winced. So much for keeping a low profile.
But Ichigo just grinned, unperturbed.
"Yeah. He was a pretty big dude, foreign too. People assumed he was dangerous just because of how he looked." His grin slid into a regretful frown as Ichigo looked back at Thor. "I was wrong to do the same to you. I should've known better, not jumped to conclusions the way I did, just because of…." The fierce man suddenly broke off his sentence, eyes darkening with emotion, but soldiered on as if nothing had happened. "I'm sorry."
Thor shuffled in his seat. Ichigo's eyes bore into his; again, Thor was struck by them. Uncomfortably, he realized he was reminded of his beloved mother. A skilled combatant and master sorcerer, his mother was deceptively fierce when protecting that which she cared about. Though their eyes were different colors, Frigga's a piercing free sky while the warrior's a dark burnished bronze, the beast-like burning wills of fire flickering within them were the very same.
The comparison calmed his confusion concerning the strange mortal, and with gruff reluctance, Thor let go of his anger about the prior slight to his pride.
"I would offer my apologies as well." Thor said gruffly. "Where I hail from, it is custom to shatter the glass in a request for more when a drink is well-received." He explained sincerely. "I meant only to honor this house, not cause affront. It was my mistake as well. I meant no disrespect." Ichigo nodded in acknowledgment.
"Well, at the very least, Mrs. Alvarez will be glad to hear you liked her coffee so much." He joked, smiling at Thor.
Resting his chin on his hand, Ichigo continued. "I had another old friend who wasn't from around here. She lived somewhere totally out of the way, completely cut off from life, you know?" He gave a knowing smile, tilting his head toward Thor. "Practically from a whole other world. She had a lot of trouble getting use to the way we did things, so I know how hard it is. To be dropped in a totally unfamiliar place. How disorienting it is, and how hard it is to adapt." Ichigo laughed. The bell above the diner's door dinged as two more customers walked in.
"She figured everything out eventually though, so don't worry about it. You'll get used to everything soon enough." Ichigo reassured him. Thor was startled by the genuine look in his eye, a look not of pity but of shared experience and trials, and nodded his thanks. Suddenly the strange mortal felt not like a dangerous threat, but a fellow warrior on the battlefield. No longer an unknown enemy, but a comrade made by standing on common ground.
His companion's eyes twinkled as he continued reminisce. "It's funny though. When the time came, she almost didn't want to leave…." Ichigo trailed off, deep in thought. The two customers settled at the bar as Thor returned to his pancakes.
"The usual please, Izzy." One of the townsmen asked. His friend started a conversation with the older woman as she began to bustle around.
"You missed out on all the excitement with the crater." He said. Jane perked up, and she and Dr. Selvig turned to look over at the bar. "They're saying some kind of satellite crashed in the desert." His companion joined the conversation.
"We were having a good time with it till the Feds showed up, chased us out."
"Excuse me, did you say there was a satellite crash?" Jane interrupted, harried. The men looked over, bemused.
"Yeah," he confirmed as Darcy snapped a photo of Thor in the background.
"What did it look like, the satellite?" Selvig asked the townsman, intent.
"Well, I don't know anything about satellites, but it was heavy." The man explained, looking perturbed. "I mean, nobody could lift it."
Thor paused, attention suddenly focusing on the man's words. Ah, so that's where it's been. Quickly he stood, pancakes forgotten (delicious though they had been, they took a second seat to reclaiming his weapon and his honor) and made his way over to the bar.
"They said it was radioactive, I had my hand all over it-"
"Which way?" Thor ordered him, clapping a hand firmly on the man's shoulder.
The man looked startled, but replied, "Oh, 50 miles west of here?"
Thor nodded and turned to exit the building in search of his hammer, when Darcy suddenly spoke up, the alarm in her voice cutting through his fixation and halting his steps.
"Woah, Ichigo, are you okay dude?"
Thor's head twisted back around, eyes widening slightly to see Ichigo leaning over the table on his forearm. Face suddenly pale, his fist was clenched tightly on top of the table, breath catching in his throat. And his eyes….
Thor had never seen a pair like it. An equal mix of rage and terror churned deep within, their stormy depths frothing madly like the waves of the ocean during a hurricane.
Ichigo took a deep, shuddering breath, and as the air stuttered out from behind his lips, his face wiped itself clean of the fear that only a moment before had dominated the man's demeanor. He straightened in his chair, as Jane asked him if he was alright, worry evident on her features. Darcy fluttered around the still pale server, who seemed to regard her fussing with a fond smile.
"Dude you look like really pale, do we need to get you to a hospital, can you breath okay, oh my gosh should we call an ambulance?"
"Dar," Ichigo interrupted, raising a hand to stop the girl's nervous chatter. "I'm fine. Don't worry about it." The chair legs squeaked on the diner floor as he stood, hands reaching back to untie his apron.
"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to run. Sorry to bounce." Ichigo smiled, but Thor could see the strain it took. From the looks Lady Jane and Lady Darcy shot him, they weren't convinced either, but before either could say something, Ichigo was already halfway to the counter.
"Sorry Mrs. Alvarez, but I need to run for the day," he told the older woman behind the bar as he hurried back.
"Leave? Whatever for dear?" The woman asked back, bewildered.
"Sorry Mrs. Alvarez. I've just got to go check something out." Ichigo said with a wry, bitter sort of smile, more of a grimace really, as he threw his apron over the counter, turning the corner of the bar to snatch his bag.
"Sorry for having to skip out on you out of nowhere," Ichigo apologized as he pecked her on the cheek as he passed.
The woman's confused frown gave way to an indulgent smile, and she pulled him back to give him a motherly pat on his cheek.\
"That's quite alright my dear. You already do too much work around here. You just stay safe, alright?"
Ichigo gave a short huff of laughter as he moved back around the bar.
"Sure Mrs. Alvarez."
"How many times do I have to tell you Ichigo, call me Izzy!"
The bell above the door jingled, and the man was gone.
"Sooooo…" Darcy said, aiming her pointer finger at door, "that was weird."
"The warrior's own business matters not to me. I have my own business to attend to." He strode across the cafe and out the door, bell dinging in his wake.
"Hey, wait!" Jane yelled after him, grabbing her coat and gesturing at the others to hurry up and follow him.
Jane, Darcy, and Dr. Selvig rushed to clean up and follow their big lead, but as Jane paused to throw some cash on the table she was stopped when one of the other waiters came out from the back kitchen.
"Was that Ichigo?" The young woman asked.
"Yes." Izzy replied. "He had to take off early, had something to take care off."
The girl paused in her work.
"...He's not coming back, is he?" She asked sadly, staring dolefully at the door. Izzy sighed.
"No, I don't think he is." She whispered, so low Jane could barely catch the words. Mrs. Alvarez cleared her throat, swallowing the lump that had formed there. "But then again, we all knew he wasn't going to stay forever." She glanced over and gave the young woman a resigned smile.
"Men like that? Men who are running from something?" Izzy stared at the door, still seeing Ichigo's ghost as he ran. "Men like him never stay for too very long."
Jane shook her head, spurring herself into action as she rushed out after her self-appointed charge, but failed to shake off the sudden dread in her heart.
The bell dinged once more, then fell silent.
AN: Haha, so I'm going to keep this short: I was originally going to post a different character's chapter rather than Thor's, but it ended up giving me a lot of trouble, and I had a definite ending character so I had to switch to Thor but I procrastinated because I didn't have a great idea about it, and a month ago this just randomly pooped up into my head and I lit up like a Christmas tree and immediately got to work! The rest of the delay is because I'm a perfectionist, as well as the fact I'll be overseas for the next 9 months and getting ready was CRAZY so I didn't have a lot of time, but it's here now! Sorry about the wait, but I hope it was worth it!
I'm still working on this story, don't worry, and I will do my best to update as quickly as possible, but as I said I'm working overseas for the next 9 months so it might take a while. Sorry! I love you guys!
Some Notes to Clarify:
- Steve didn't know Ichigo had bright orange hair because he was wearing a hat to cover it up, because in his many travels Ichigo has DEFINITELY realized orange hair is a BIT conspicuous. You can see him doing it in chapter 2 with TOny as well, but it served a dual purpose of practicality in a desert
- In regards to Ichigo saying he didn't have a last name in chptr 1 and then immediately giving it in chptr 2, he knew he'd be pegged as more suspicious if he didn't give a last name, so he gave his full one. He definitely has his reasons for claiming he doesn't have a last name though...
And that's it! Again sorry for the delay, sorry for future delays, I love y'all to bits and pieces and COMMENTS are a great way to motivate me to hurry up my writing! SO if y'all really want that next chapter quick despite my foreign country craziness, y'all better COMMENT ya hear?
Love y'all and best of wishes!
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